Editor’s Note: This story first appeared on our Seller Community page.
Richard Brooks has been eagerly tearing open packs of baseball cards since he was a young boy. He started selling on eBay two years ago to fund his own collection of rare players and now runs the popular shop Remember When Cards with the help of his daughter Hope Brooks. The store has enabled Richard to scale his business quickly, tapping into a community of baseball enthusiasts while preserving the history of the game for the next generation.
Get to know Richard and Hope in their own words below (also, visit their eBay shop right here):
A love for baseball since childhood
Richard Brooks: I grew up in a small town in the Midwest where there was a shop that had baseball cards for sale at the checkout counter. I had a paper route and I’d save my money, buy cards and trade ‘em with friends.
I loved opening up packs and finding my favorite players. I remember being at a barbershop with a bunch of older men and finding a card I wanted – the Kansas City Royals’ John Mabry. I yelled out and all the men turned and smiled. Baseball cards do that, they bring out camaraderie.
Hope Brooks: Growing up, baseball was the one hobby we knew my dad enjoyed. For Christmas and for his birthday we would always get him a set of baseball cards. I loved opening them and going through them with him even if I didn't know the players.
From buying cards to selling them
Richard Brooks: When I started collecting baseball cards as an adult, it made me feel like a kid again. I moved from buying them to selling any extras I had to build my personal collection. I began to sell quite a few and realized that maybe this was a “real” business.
I branded my eBay shop Remember When Cards, because selling baseball cards brought back the memories and joys of childhood and collecting. I wanted people to think back and have the same feelings I had when going through old collections.
Scaling the business together
Hope Brooks: I started helping out my dad after work. My Dad sourced the cards — I organized and prepped them to be shipped. The business grew to the point where I quit my full-time day job at a chiropractor’s office when I realized I could make more money working for him.
Richard Brooks: Currently with Hope’s help the business is doing well. It’s a lot bigger than we ever expected it to be, and it’s possible I’ll be able to quit my day job soon. We want to grow it in the future to the point where it supports us both full time and allows us to hire a couple of employees.
Tapping into community for success
Richard Brooks: The biggest question I get asked is, where do you get your cards? I constantly reach out to baseball card enthusiasts and other sellers in the local community to find my inventory. There’s no vintage card warehouse where you can source your inventory, so I use my connections and run ads.
I talk to other sports cards sellers quite a bit and sometimes share best practices. Last year we won an eBay Up & Running Grant, and that introduced us to another group of sellers. There’s a lot of support there and it helps to talk to sellers who have similar experiences.
Hope Brooks: Talking to customers and hearing their personal stories about cards we sell them is great – whether it completes their collection or it's one their dad had when they were a kid.
Tips for sellers, from analytics to AI
Richard Brooks: One tip I always share with sellers is to keep an eye on your analytics so you know the best path to improve your sales. Also, I recommend buying a sophisticated scanner (it’s not an eBay product) that will scan six trading cards a second. The scanner uses artificial intelligence to identify the info required to list your product on eBay. From there you can upload really, really fast.
Hope Brooks: My tip for sellers is to always keep your customers happy over anything else. Real customer service is rare these days, and it’s important to answer every question.
Richard Brooks: The main benefit of selling on eBay is the customer base. There’s no other way that we could reach millions of customers. And secondly, eBay has everything in one spot. We have our store, analytics and sales tracking and even our customer service and shipping labels all in one place.
Inspired to do good
Richard Brooks: My favorite quote is “do good.” It's something I've said to my daughter since she was in elementary school at morning drop off. It meant do good at school, do good in the way you treat other people. Try your best at everything you do.
Hope Brooks: I have “do good” tattooed on my finger. My other favorite quote is “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It’s a quote from the former NHL player Wayne Gretzky that shows up in “The Office,” my favorite TV show.
Richard Brooks: I’m excited about the future generation. I envision a day when my daughter will open packs of baseball cards with her son or daughter. And the tradition will carry on.
Hope Brooks: Being able to build a passion of my own for baseball while working for my dad has been awesome. I feel very lucky to be able to work with him.
Explore our Seller Community page on ebayinc.com to read more stories about eBay businesses.